“The road from appearance to reality is often very hard and long, and many people make only very poor travelers. We must forgive them when they stagger against us as if against a brick wall.” —Franz Kafka

Friday, October 17, 2014

Notes on the fly

Thriftstore deco pop art plate
Price: $20
Artist unknown

We left New York on Friday and flew to Los Angeles where we spent a few days doing the town with M.'s mom. That is, we took her to her favorite charity thrift shops. She had a great time and even came away with a few super bargains. Just for the record, the broken glass and toys deco pop art plate pictured above was not among them. And we went to MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art). After seeing the Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney in New York, I was prepared to be unimpressed by their Warhol exhibit but big surprise! Shadows was delightful.

Warhol - Shadows
MOCA, 2014

It is a single work composed of 102 variously silkscreened and hand painted canvases. The images are based on two impressions of a shadow in Warhol's studio. A few minutes in the room and my dismissive attitude melted under their unobtrusive and oddly soothing sway. All together, the paintings are charming in the way a chant is charming or yes, okay I'll say it, an afternoon shadow. Because of its size, this is only the second time Shadows has been shown in its entirety. The curator describes the collection as a "haunting, environmental ensemble". Even though it's a Warhol, for once I agree the rhetoric.

And as I'm on the subject of works by Anointed Ones such as Warhol, Koons and Wool, I recently read a thread on Metafilter about why their art is so "valuable". Warhol's picture of a coke bottle recently sold for $57.8 million and Koons' Balloon Dog (Orange) sold for $58.4 million, a new high mark for a living artist. Considering the relative inanity of these "masterpieces", this may leave one wondering what the fuck IS art anyway? Without going all "art speak", the very pinnacle of pomposity, it helps to keep in mind that the value of any work of art is arbitrary and personal. Consider those stick figure drawings your toddler gave you back when. Priceless. Just so, in a lessor fashion of course, it is not hard to see why billionaires treasure works by the Anointed Ones. Buying and selling these "masterpieces" allows them to legally move great gobs of money around. The upscale Art Market could be otherwise called the Billionaire Laundromat.

"Apocalypse Now"
Price: $26.4 million
Christopher Wool

And now, after traveling for 45 hours, we're in Bangkok. I count that time from Los Angeles when we got up in the morning to Bangkok when we finally got to bed some two nights later, after dinner and walking to the Big C for bananas, oatmeal and instant coffee for breakfast. We're staying in an apartment M. Lee found on airbnb. It costs $60 a day, which is a lot more than the $9 a day room we had in Chiang Mai last winter, but it's Bangkok and in a great location.

Inflight map


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